This week, I am announcing a change in the Mass times here at St. Marguerite. There are several reasons for the changes. First, our current schedule is unsustainable for me with five Masses each weekend. While we are very blessed to have Fr. Montanaro here to celebrate one Mass every weekend and holy day, I have also sought out other priests in the area to come on the weekends, but we simply do not have the number of retired priests in the northern part of the Diocese who are readily available, and the ones we do have are booked with other commitments. If I were sick or away for the weekend, this would necessitate two priests coming to celebrate all the Masses at St. Marguerite, and with the current numbers of available clergy, this would be very difficult, if not impossible, to schedule.
Second, the Bishop has stated many times to the clergy in our priest meetings that he feels that we have too many Masses available throughout the Diocese. He would like to see Mass schedules reduced to fill the churches instead of having many Masses offered where the congregations are spread out and the pews are only 50% or 60% filled, for example.
Third, Bishop Caggiano is not able to send a parochial vicar, or a curate, here to St. Marguerite because the Diocese simply does not have the number of available curates to warrant being sent to our parish relative to its size. Many of the newly ordained priests have been sent to larger parishes, including those parishes which have schools. That was my situation, for instance, in 2005 with St. Mary’s in Ridgefield as my first assignment.
I am very aware of the emotional attachment that people have to “their” Mass, as it were. People often choose the Mass they attend based on the time, and then it becomes part of their weekly routine. I would not be changing the Mass times if it were not necessary, but I simply am not able to sustain the current schedule over the course of the many years that we will be here together at St. Marguerite.
Over the last month, I have consulted with the members of the Finance Council, the Parish Council, and the Synod Pastoral Planning members regarding this new schedule. Therefore, beginning on Sunday, 11 June, the Mass times at St. Marguerite will be:
Saturday Vigil Mass: 4:30 pm.
Sunday Masses: 9:00 am.
Every first Sunday of the month, the Traditional Latin Mass will remain at 4:00 pm.
In addition, in the fall, Family Formation, as well as our seventh and eighth-graders, will meet on Sunday mornings at 10 am. This will give families the opportunity to attend Mass either immediately before class or directly after it.
I understand that it is impossible to accommodate every family’s particular situation and schedule. However, we are hoping to create the best opportunity for everyone as much as possible in the parish. We certainly appreciate your patience and understanding.
May you have a most blessed and holy week!
Fr. Shawn William Cutler
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